Science

Mental Health Conversations Can Eradicate Stigma

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 03, 2017 06:51 AM EST
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Mental health experts are saying that even though kindness and compassion are comforting for people with mental issues, they are not as helpful as starting a conversation that tackles the depth of the problem. People afflicted with mental problems suffer from exclusion, a stigma that stems from having the disorder, which psychologists believe, can be potentially healed through listening and understanding. Although hugs are readily available, a proactive approach that promotes understanding and acceptance is what people need to eliminate the stigma.

The fact is that people afflicted with mental difficulties often have shorter lives. They also experience poorer and unhappier quality of existence. In the UK, people diagnosed with schizophrenia die 20 years younger than the average.

Furthermore, according to The Guardian, those who have psychological problems during childhood have 25% lesser earning potential than healthy people by the age of 50. What makes it so difficult to function in society as a person with mental health issues has something to do with being frequently excluded. A lot of things could go wrong in life but how society treats and stigmatizes a person when that happens is what causes exclusion.

According to the BBC, the stigma around mental health problems can have a devastating impact on people's lives, a survey by mental charities has found. The humiliation and discrimination often leave behind a trail of break-ups, severed friendships and lost jobs. To address the lack of conversation in tackling the problem, mental charities organized a Time to Talk day, where people with mental issues share their experiences, connecting them to the world at a more personal level.

The director of Time to Change, Sue Baker explains that society have the responsibility in improving attitudes and reducing discrimination. People should be made to feel less isolated and ashamed of other people's reactions. "The good news is that being open about mental health, and ready to listen, can make a positive difference and potentially change lives," she adds.

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